December 22, 2013
We have now officially arrived at that time of the year when the Thornapple blog sinks far below its normal standard of mediocrity. December has always been the month for some of the worst blogs. It started the very first year. Even when there were less than a half dozen entries to the Thornapple blog, the best I could do was recycle some bits from the annual Thompson family Christmas letter. The next year, all I could come up with was a blog on some of the memorable meals I had eaten that year. Like anybody cares? And things didn’t really improve in 2011 or 2012, either. Not that I’d really like to send people scurrying back to those pathetic efforts. “Ooooh! Let’s read some really boring stuff. There’s nothing else happening this time of year.”
Fortunately, the readership of the blog seems to tail off in December anyway. Not even the robots are interested. The chickens are molting, and the elves are revolting. “There’s a list for who’s been naughty or nice but consider the price for an elf.” Admittedly the food connection to this song is pretty thin: some tangential reference to handing the fat man a beverage, I think. It wouldn’t have been there at all but for the fact that Ed Robertson was trying to find something that rhymed with “leverage.” If getting barenaked for the holidays is foreign to you, here’s the link to a U-tube clip that ‘splains it all.
So I’ll just use up the rest of this week’s space on some utter trivia. Like noticing that the phrase “food baby” made the Oxford English Dictionary this year. A food baby is the protruding stomach you show off (presumably patting it gently) after an especially large meal. Other newbies on the list include “selfie”—the self portrait you take with the camera in your cell phone. Everybody and I mean everybody does this, and now you have been recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary. There is also, taking this inane line of thought even further, the “food selfie”, which is technically not a selfie in the straight up sense, at all. It’s a picture of the meal that you are about to eat. I presume this derives from Ludwig Fuerbach’s aphorism, “Der Mensch ist, was er ißt.” This is rather freely translated as “You are what you eat,” but in the case of the food selfie, it’s what you are about to eat. It’s about to become you, so I guess that makes it a selfie in some obscure ontological sense.
I will admit to having sat around the table at Gailey’s taking pics of everyone’s breakfast, and I will further admit to having posted those pictures on Facebook. So I guess I’m as guilty as anyone. Or maybe not quite everyone. Lest you think that I’m especially indulgent of idiocy this week, I’ll note that CBS News thought the phenomenon of people routinely posting photos of their next meal on Instagram (I really don’t know what this is) was significant enough that they devoted a segment to it.
We are socked into an ice box here in Michigan this December Sunday morning. The limbs are down all over the yard, and we seem to be one of the few houses in the neighborhood who have power. Christmas will be here in just a few days, and we still have shopping to do. All in all, it seems like a proper morning for indulging lunacy. Fortunately, we have some leftover pizza in the ice box. Maybe I’ll take a picture of it for Facebook.
Joyeaux Noël, mon amies! Eat hearty.
Paul B. Thompson is the W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University